It is a funny kind of irony that moving to the land and leaving the grid resulted in a break from some of our better eating habits. There were some needed compromises and some not-so-needed and I (and my many excuses and justifications) take full responsibility for this as the kitchen-dweller of the family. We were living in a camper; we were living in a wooden tent; I had a corner for a kitchen; we had no refrigeration; we were both working; I worked in the garden all morning…
Blah, blah, blah.
The truth is I shifted around priorities when things got tough and made some necessary, and some plain-old-wrong, choices along the way. This impacted all of our well-being and it’s just the past couple of years that things seem to be returning to a healthy normal.
We have good raw milk and lovely golden eggs most of the time. The gardens are beginning to supply us with vegetables regularly. I have been fermenting, soaking, sprouting, and souring most of our grains and legumes. We make and eat ferments regularly. The chicken flock is growing towards giving us more and more of that golden broth.
All of these were practices I had – and foods I sourced out – six years ago when it was just us and two little boys. It just happens to be that now we (and often our neighbors) are growing these foods. And somehow saying that out loud kind of helps me make sense of it all.
Another habit that takes just a few minutes but has been a real game-changer is making sauces and dressings regularly again. Honestly, much of the time I just splash some ACV, olive oil, and salt on the greens and call it a day. But then we’ve still got loads of homegrown garlic that we are trying to eat daily and, of course, I am always trying to get more milk kefir into our bellies.
And then Stewart bought me this handy-dandy immersion blender that I can run on our solar panels when the sun is shining. I’ve been blending up all sorts of nourishing stuff, one of them being a super simple mayonnaise that is really indiscernible from the Hellmann’s of my childhood but with a way better ingredient list. Inspired by that, I’ve been whipping up this Better Kefir Ranch which is sort of a hybrid Kefir-Mayo dressing and we have been drizzling it over everything from salads to slaws; salmon burgers to beans; baked potatoes to carrot sticks.
And while it feels really good in the belly, it also just makes everything taste fresh and delicious.
A Better Kefir Ranch
Makes 1 Quart
- 2 cups cultured milk kefir
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 cups avocado or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried dill or parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a quart jar and carefully blend until completely smooth and creamy using an immersion blender. Alternatively, grate the garlic into the jar with the other ingredients, place an airtight lid on the jar, and shake until all ingredients are combined.
Use as a salad dressing, dip, or sauce.